RIYC August 2018 Newsletter

Commodore’s Message – Gary Annino


I’d like to start this month’s note with a few highlights and “thank you” shout-outs:

  • Dan Spear, Mark Entwistle, Mac Turner & others for the restoration of the porch columns
  • The Dress Ship Party Team – despite the weather chasing the dressed ships away, a great event and a good time had by all
  • The Boatwright Cup RIYC Team – By invitation only and we are now required to return to defend our success!  More importantly, a potential catalyst to return inter-club one design racing to Fisher’s Island Sound
  • Jr Sailing & supporting members– two successful regattas & the programs have been completed with lots of great feedback & smiling kids
  • The Quad Party Team – hugely successful under adverse weather conditions
  • The Clubs unanimous decision to obtain a letter of credit as bridge funding for disaster recovery efforts

Next, I’d like to add a sensitive safety message.

Personally, I am a dog/pet person. Stephanie and I have a menagerie of pets that give us great joy. However, like everything in the world, my perspective is one of many. That being said, I encourage all members to review the house rules section of the bylaws that pertain to pets at the club.  Further – I’d like to emphasize that any issue resulting from an interaction with your pet is your responsibility. Similar to bringing a guest to the facility, consider your pet as your guest. If you find a members guest (or pet) displaying inappropriate behavior, it’s your responsibility to address the behavior with the guest’s host rather than to the Board of Trustees or Flag Officers.

Last, at the time of this writing, two of the club’s neighboring properties have changed, or are in the process of changing ownership.  As such, the Trustees have formed a subcommittee with the goal of being better poised to act if a property becomes available for purchase. Such an acquisition, if endorsed by the membership, could address much of the feedback received by the club the Strategic Planning process.  It’s the goal of this subcommittee to create a pro-forma business case that can be quickly updated and voted upon by the membership thus allowing us to keep pace with the local real estate market. The last two properties came on and off the market in less than 30 days and we feel it is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to bring these opportunities to the membership.

Report from the Strategic Planning Committee – Blake Powell

The Strategic Planning Committee presented a summary report to the Trustees which identifies the highest priority strategic initiatives identified by the Membership during the survey and workshops. The Committee and Trustees are already developing priorities and an implementation plan to address each of the initiatives. The seven main strategic initiatives identified by members are:

  • Member recruitment and outreach

According to our recent member survey, the ability to attract new members is a serious concern.  This is consistent with challenges facing yacht clubs throughout the country. RIYC is more fortunate than many clubs who have experienced a decline in membership, but our aging membership and waning list of applicants portends future challenges and financial difficulties for the club.  A more proactive approach to attract new members who will be active participants in the Club is needed to ensure the long-term future of the club remains vibrant.

  • Programs and activities to enhance member engagement and sense of community

Ensuring that all members (new, long-time, young, boater and non-boaters) are active, committed, and engaged will enhance the overall sense of community and vibrancy of the Club. Some creative ideas are needed to facilitate social interaction by offering programs and activities that appeal to a wider group of members and naturally draw people together around common interests. The setting for social engagement can be formally organized activities (i.e. Club sponsored parties), impromptu activities (i.e. using message boards or social media to let people know what’s going on for the day) or sweat equity activities. A well-defined mission statement would also enhance the sense of community and common purpose.

  • Boating and on-water activities

The current membership demographics and the activities organized by the club indicate that the on-water activities (both organized and informal) are not as much of a priority as they traditionally have been. The demands on families’ time and the cost of boat ownership were noted to be contributing factors. There is a desire by members to increase the organized on-water boating activities, make the club more attractive to potential members who desire such activities and increase the sense of community revolving around racing, cruising and boating in general.

  • Facility improvements to encourage the casual and informal use of the club

There is a desire to make the club a more comfortable, inviting place and thereby increase utilization by encouraging more casual/informal usage. This will also increase member interaction and sense of community. There is also a desire to make the club more user-friendly for families with young children.  These facility enhancements should make the club more attractive to potential members.

  • Resiliency to weather events

Members recognize the value of the clubhouse and facilities, both in terms of monetary value but also their importance to the culture of Club. The increased frequency of severe weather and high-water events creates the need to identify the risk and be more proactive to protect the facilities. By understanding the problem, the Club can become more resilient and plan to adapt by either defending against stormwater or accommodating routine flooding. There is also a concern that the Club’s finances may be insufficient to recover rapidly from a weather event without a significant assessment on the membership which could have an impact on many members’ ability and desire to remain members, thus jeopardizing the future of the club.

  • Financial stability

It is felt that dues are affordable and represent an outstanding value but may not allow for capital improvements of any significance without assessment. Members want to ensure that the Club is adequately funded, particularly in the event of an emergency. Defining and maintaining the appropriate balance should be a high priority. There is a need to establish goals for account levels for both operating funds and capital improvements/repairs.

  • Programs and activities to enhance Junior Sailing

Members, with and without children, place a high value on the Junior Sailing program. However, the role of Junior Sailing is evolving, not just for our Club for clubs throughout the area and country. Defining the optimal balance between learn-to-sail and competitive racing has always been a challenge but this results in an undefined mission of the Junior Sailing program (and to some degree the mission of the Club). The response to the Club’s demographic survey shows there are only three children currently in the club under six years of age compared to 14 in 2009, 19 in 2005, and 11 in 1999.  The Junior Sailing program and the family memberships it attracts is an important recruitment tool and contributes to the Club’s ability to stay ahead of a declining membership curve. We need to consider how the Junior Sailing program can adapt to the demands on families’ time and best serve the junior sailing goals of our families and their children.

Report from the Entertainment Committee – Sandy Turner and Rodney Denman

The Traditional RIYC Dress Ship Party on Saturday, July 21, 2018, had a good attendance of 66 members plus work crew.  We had boats at the dock in the afternoon, but the weather forced them back to moorings.  We had the house dressed for the party which helped with the theme.  Entertainment would like to thank Ann and Sully Ahamed, Terri and Bryan Burdick, Tom Knight, Jennifer and Jim O’Donnell, Janice Scott and Sandy Turner for working the party.  The team worked well and the food went out smoothly.  A special thanks to Ann and Sully for bringing a tasty chicken dish and to Janice for bringing an unbelievable dessert.


Besides the Club Race day, future events to watch out for are the Labor Day Picnic, the Clam Bar Party, and the Annual Meeting.

Entertainment is looking for hosts for the Annual Meeting and Fall parties.  There is a party sign-up clipboard on the bar that we are encouraging members to review and sign.  Remember, these parties can only happen with club members’ support.  It’s a team effort.

The Quad Party was great and was attended by 141 people.  We had more people in attendance from other clubs than from our own club.  The final financials are in process but it looks like we may be slightly out of pocket.  The band, Cabin Fever, is interested in playing for us again at a Thursday Night picnic.  They will be approached for playing in September.

The Labor Day Picnic will be 4-6pm and will run in the same way as Memorial Day – the Trustees will provide burgers, dogs, condiments, and beer.  Entertainment will send out an Evite so that we can better estimate numbers.

Report from the Junior Program

Junior Sailing – Ann Bergendahl and Rob Warn

We have completed the 2018 Jr. Sailing program at RIYC and we are very happy with how things turned out.  We had a great group of little sailors and instructors! Looking forward to breaking it all down in the coming weeks to evaluate what we can do to improve next year while keeping the momentum going.

The program is “morphing” a little to provide a strong basis for the kids in Optis, and then send them off to NESS or MudRatz for higher level racing in 420’s and beyond.

Junior Activities / Thursday Nights – Tina McLoughlin

Thursday Night Picnics continue! So bring the family and have a great time. The last Thursday Night Picnic is September 13th.

Ames Fund Request 

The Trustees approved a $1,500 grant for Tyler Bergendahl towards his sailing activities.  He is already flying a RIYC burgee, and the Trustees will ask him to provide a picture for the website from one of his many regattas.  We wish him well!

Report from the Race Committee

Race Ashore – Matt Curtiss

Race day planning is well in hand with coordination with the steward, Tiana. The food is all ordered. The Committee is still looking for junior runners as well as volunteers for parking and cleanup.

Race Afloat – Moise Solomon

The sign-up system is working well and the Committee encourages all to get out onto the race course.

Any members not using their mooring on August 25, 26 and willing to allow transient racers to use, please contact Moise, moise.solomon@gmail.com.

Report from the House Committee – Matt Lettrich

There have been issues with windows being left open and water coming in.  In addition, it seems as some of the club chairs may have had salt water dripped on them from swimmers.  A. Bergendahl indicated that the sailing instructors had a lightened load and the Junior Sailing Program finishes and they will wash the chairs.  The Trustees will check on the prior contacts for the club chairs and explore ordering new ones because some are broken and some are just tired. There will be an opportunity for members to sponsor a chair with their boat name in the future.

Report from the Waterfront Committee – Stan White

In order to address an accident on the floating docks last month where a member’s foot slipped between the dock units, Waterfront has started installing the boards between the floating docks to ensure safety.

The Dock and Harbor Rules call for using a sticker to identify those members who have paid the appropriate mooring and dinghy fees.  This procedure will be re-activated for 2019 and will include paddleboards and kayaks.

The RIYC Dock and Harbor Rules have been updated by the Board and should be reviewed by all members. Of special significance is the requirement to remove boats from the pier and floating docks if there is a storm predicted.

Website – Lorna Conahan

We will be transitioning to GoDaddy as our domain registrar.  The Team met on 8/20 to review how to make updates.  The Team will also respond to a request to more clearly identify responsibility for posting and communicating various items.

Membership Application Procedures – Amy Leger

As Trustees we are often asked, what is the process to bring a new member into the club?

Membership is by invitation from the Board of Trustees which considers prospective members who are proposed by the Membership Committee.

Following the steps below will help make the process run smoothly!

  1. If you have a friend or family member that has expressed interest in our club, the first step is to bring them to our events. This could include the Thursday Night Picnics as well as our many Entertainment Committee events.
  2. Once they have attended a few events and have met other members, download the application from the Member Section of the website or ask the Secretary to email it to you (riycsec@gmail.com).
  3. Ask the Prospective Member to complete the Application and to write a biography explaining why they are interested in joining our club. Have them return the Application and Biography to you.
  4. Explain to them that it is not unusual for the entire process to take up to two years so that they are not expecting an immediate invitation.
  5. Sign and date the Application and identify another member (not a spouse) who is also well-acquainted with the applicant to “Second” the Application by signing and dating as well.
  6. Submit the signed Application and Biography to the Secretary; both Sponsors are required to send supporting letters.
  7. The Secretary requests that forms and letters be submitted by email as well as other documents such as support letters, if possible.
  8. After application submission, continue to bring the Prospective Members to events; remember we are a working club! You should also ask other members who are acquainted with the prospective member to write support letters.  The more letters, the better!
  9. Please note that individual letters that demonstrate a relationship to and knowledge of the applicant are weighted more heavily than form letters signed by multiple members.

Membership is capped by the RIYC Bylaws, and new members are selected by the Membership Committee as space becomes available.  The Bylaws state, “All proceedings of the Membership Committee and the Trustees upon any proposal for membership and all communications received by them in relation thereto shall be regarded as confidential and shall not be disclosed except to state their final action thereon.”

It is difficult for the Membership Committee to propose members if they have not met them.  Since the committee itself is not identified to the Membership per the Bylaws, it is therefore helpful for sponsors to ensure that prospective members have been introduced to as many Trustees as possible.

Additionally, we would like to inform the membership that we are at an all-time low number of complete membership proposals which we can act on and remain in compliance with the bylaws.

If you have previously proposed a member, you are encouraged to email the Secretary to find out if the application packet is complete and if supporting letters have been received.

For all others – if you know of a good prospect for membership, please consider nominating them via the process described.

Documents are available on the Member Only section of the Ram Island Yacht Club website   https://ramislandyachtclub.org/


Last Voyage

  • Brian Thorp, husband of Joan Thorp
  • Sidney Petrie, husband of Linda and father of Brian

New Members

Cruise News – Stan White

Send an email to Stan White if you plan to attend the planned cruise.

The Fall Cruise will be held September 14th – 17th with the intended destination of Block Island, Cuttyhunk and Third Beach. We might need four or five nights!

Safety for Cruising Couples (Including “Suddenly Alone”) a Cruising Club of America (CCA) one-day training had to be postponed until September 9th. Contact Stan White if you are interested.


We have added a new topic for the newsletter where Members may post, for one newsletter, an item they wish to sell. The item must be marine-related and the information to be sent to the RIYC Secretary must include:

  • Member Name
  • Member contact information
  • Detailed description and condition of the item wishing to be sold
  • Desired selling price


Classic 9’ Dyer Dhow for sale. Includes oarlocks, oars, bowline, floorboards (needs painting). The boat is solid but could use some buffing up. The boat does not have a sailing rig. $450. Laurelbutler697@gmail.com